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Luke Cage is a little different from your “ordinary” superhero. He wasn’t bitten by a radioactive spider, or born on another planet, or chosen by the gods. He was a kid who grew up on the streets, involved in gangs and petty crime. He got out, but was then framed by someone he thought was a friend for a crime he didn’t commit. Then, in an effort to get out of jail early, he willingly subjected himself to science experiments on his own body.
As if all that weren’t enough, a corrupt prison guard attempted to kill him. Yes, he gained his superpowers in the process, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was a serious attempt on his life by someone who is supposed to be operating within the confines of the law. You can see why Luke might have a bit of a distrust of the system as it stands.
All of these betrayals, corruption, and abuses of power can seriously have an effect on one’s view of morality and authority. Luke didn’t start out as a benevolent do-gooder because of it. Instead, he became effectively a super-powered mercenary. Yes, he was a Hero for hire, but he still did it as much for the money as the sense of good it gave him.
The Lone Hero
Luke had a lot of false starts in his heroing career, sometimes discovering he was on the wrong end of the law, even. Beyond that, he also had some issues building and maintaining a working relationship with other heroes. Being repeatedly betrayed can do that to you. Nevertheless, he continued to do good, especially in and around his own neighborhood, even when no one else was pitching in to assist.
In life, sometimes we find ourselves alone. That’s not always a bad thing, and more importantly, it shouldn’t keep you from doing the right thing. Sometimes in a work environment, in a community effort, or in any kind of group situation, you may find yourself being the only one putting in the work, doing the right thing, and carrying your weight. This can be a frustrating situation, yes, but it shouldn’t keep you from doing what needs to be done.
Luke Cage perseveres through hardship, and if we’re looking to become Power Man, we should focus on doing the same. Sometimes you’re the only one doing the right thing, but you know what? At least someone’s doing it. Stand strong, and push on.
The Dynamic Duo
This isn’t to say that Luke was always alone. Eventually he found himself fostering a strong relationship with Danny Rand, AKA Iron Fist. Finding common ground in their ability to punch through problems while fighting for the common man, the two proceeded to punch evil in the fact for over thirty years. Though they occasionally found themselves at odds with each other, or split apart, the two always managed to come back together, complimenting each others’ strengths and covering their weaknesses.
In life, finding solid partners to work with can mean the difference between success and failure. In my life, I have my wife, who covers my weaknesses and compliments my strengths amazingly. I have my partner at my dojo, who does the things I can’t and makes time for the things I unfortunately cannot. Here at the blog we’ve got Alex, our artist-in-residence and the man who’s there for me to bounce ideas off at three in the morning.
Be on the lookout for someone who’s willing to join you in your life missions, who makes up for your weaknesses and compliments your strengths. You don’t always have to get along, but if you have a common goal you’re moving towards and a powerful drive to get there, you’ll be able to make up the differences.
Question Authority, and Fight for the Common Person
Listen, just because something has always been a certain way doesn’t mean it always needs to be that certain way. Some figures of authority are important, some laws serve a purpose, and some traditions have positive value. But this is not always the case. Luke Cage has been at the raw end of a number of these deals, and he’s wary of figures of authority because of it, with good reason.
I, personally, have always had a bit of a rebellious streak. Telling me not to do something is a damn good way to get me to do it. Sometimes it’s served me well, sometimes it’s gotten me in trouble, but it’s always kept life interesting!
Questioning why things are the way they are isn’t a bad thing. You don’t always have to act upon that questioning, but it’s never a bad idea to at least consider it. Fighting for your fellow human being should always be the main priority for you, as it is for Power Man. We’re all in this together. Luke has more boots-on-the-ground street time in his own neighborhood than almost any other superhero. He sticks up for the little guy, the one who might be overlooked in the screaming hordes when Thanos or Loki attack.
It’s good to march to the beat of a different drummer. You see things that others don’t, and notice people that need help that others might not. If helping them means challenging the conventional norms, well then that’s just what you’re going to have to do.
In the end, Luke Cage is strong because he has given himself the skills and knowledge to question things when they need to be questioned, to act alone when he has to, and to attract other like minds to his causes. In trying to become him, you should strive to do the same.
That’s it for Power Man! I hope you enjoyed this series (I know I sure did.) I’ll see you again with a new post on Monday! As always, remember to live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome.
Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace